NEW heritage rooms will be open to the public for the first time at Stourport Canal Basins as part of a special Easter weekend event.

The rooms are the result of the next stage of a major heritage initiative that is transforming the site into an interactive attraction.

The new season is being ushered in with a heritage-themed Easter celebration on Sunday and Monday.

Between noon and 4pm, on both days, visitors can discover more about the history of Stourport and the canal basins by exploring the Old Ticket Office Heritage Room, witnessing the launch of the new display at the Tontine Stable Heritage Room and talking to the costumed volunteers.

The Tontine Stable Heritage Room provides an insight into the use of horses at the basins and he Old Ticket Office into the growth of Stourport as a canal town.

The heritage rooms are part of a partnership project of Stourport Forward with Stourport Civic Society, funded by Advantage West Midlands and Stourport Civic Society.

Visitors to the heritage weekend will also be able to sample canal boat trips, leaving Stourport Upper Canal Basins at 1pm, 2.30pm and 4pm and turning round, without stopping, just after the Bird In Hand Pub.

Tickets can be booked at The Windlass Cafe/Restaurant on 01299 871742 or on arrival at the boat, numbers permitting.

British Waterways volunteers will also be available to allow visitors to step inside the living quarters of an authentic British Waterways heritage working boat and as costumed lock assisters, offering assistance to boats passing through the locks.

At 12.30pm and 2.30pm on Sunday and Monday, costumed volunteers from the Monday Night Group and Stourport Forward will lead guided walks of the site, starting from the Tontine Stable Heritage Room, next to the Windlass Cafe/Restaurant.

Liz Sheerin, programme manager, said: “As well as inviting visitors and local people to explore the heritage rooms and discover more about the history of Stourport, we hope that local people will come and share their memories of the town with the volunteers so that we can continue to learn more about our heritage.”

Pauline Annis, chairman of Stourport Forward, added: “These are exciting times for Stourport as we move into the 2010 visitor season, with two newly furnished heritage rooms and an events programme to be really proud of.”

Anyone who would like further information about the Easter event or would like to volunteer should contact Liz Sheerin on 01299 822827 or